PHI men's volleyball team falls to Korean U-19 squad anew

Mark Escarlote on Jul 26, 2017 05:50 PM
PHI men's volleyball team falls to Korean U-19 squad anew
The towering South Korean U-19 team dominated the Philippine national men's volleyball team anew.

SUWON CITY, South Korea ---Surprised with the Philippine men’s volleyball team's fighting spirit in their first meeting, the Korean U-19 national squad came back with a vengeance Wednesday after winning all of the five sets they played in a tune-up game at the Sungkyunkwan University gym here.

The Koreans came in with all guns blazing as starting 6-foot-6 opposite Im Donghyeok and 6-foot-3 open spiker Lim Sungjin connived with setter Choi Ikje early to easily break the defense of the Filipinos and walk away with a dominating, 25-14, 25-16, 25-23, 27-25, 15-12, victory.

It was the Nationals’ third straight tune-up game loss with the usual culprit of service reception and blocking giving head coach Sammy Acaylar a headache in Day 4 of the Nationals’ 13-day training camp in preparation for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 19 to 31.

Still, the mentor credited his team’s determination despite playing with aching muscles because of their morning strength and endurance training and the emotional baggage of losing hitter Greg Dolor to a finger injury. 

“I like your character dahil kahit masakit ang katawan ninyo you pushed yourselves. Pinu-push n’yo sarili nyo,” Acaylar told his wards in a post-match talk. 

“Nasa program ko ‘yan. I want you to peak pagdating ng SEA Games and hindi dito lang sa mga tune-up matches,” added Acaylar, whose wards suffered a 26-24, 17-25, 22-25, 25-22, 11-15 loss against the same opponents Monday. “Mas masakit ang matalo kayo sa actual na game (sa SEA Games) kaysa dito sa tune-up match.”

The Filipinos dearly missed the intensity and energy of Dolor, who injured his left pinky in a blocking drill the morning before their tune-up match.        

The team’s weakness on service receive was obvious in the opening set when Ikje nailed five straight aces to turn a 19-14 lead to a 24-14 cushion before the Nationals' misreceive in the frame’s final play gave Sungjin an easy drop ball to ice it.       

It was all Koreans in the second and third sets before Acaylar fielded his young guns to take on the host team’s second stringers in the fourth.

The Nationals behind Dave Cabaron, John Carascal, Bryan Bagunas and skipper John Vic De Guzman kept the fourth set close and saved two set points with the last deuce at 25 coming off Bonjomar Castel’s hammer at the middle. But the Koreans answered with two straight points to finish off the frame.     

The fifth frame was close in the opening stretch before the Koreans pulled away for good.

The Nationals will take on Hwasung City volleyball team at 10:00 a.m. Thursday.

 

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